On March 15, 2021, the California Energy Commission (CEC), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued the first analysis of California’s 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 (Senate Bill (SB) 100, De León, Chapter 312, Statutes of 2018) (SB 100 Report). SB 100 sets a 2045 goal of powering all retail electricity sold in California and state agency electricity needs with renewable and zero-carbon resources. SB 100 also updates California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to ensure that by 2030 at least 60 percent of the state’s electricity is renewable.
The SB 100 Report’s initial findings suggest the goals of SB 100 are achievable, but additional analysis is required to evaluate reliability and other factors more comprehensively. The SB 100 Report’s results indicate that, to meet SB 100 goals, California will need to roughly triple its current electric grid capacity relative to today’s installed capacity. This involves a tripling of solar and wind build rates (based on a 10-year average), and an eight-fold increase in battery build rates (based on 2020), translating to building 69.4 GW of new utility scale solar, 28.2 GW of new customer solar, 48.8 GW of battery storage, 4 GW of long-duration storage, 12.6 GW of onshore wind, 10 GW of offshore wind, and about 100 MW of geothermal. Achieving SB 100 goals by 2045 is estimated to increase total resource costs by about 6%, as compared to reaching 60% RPS by 2045. In addition, while gas capacity is maintained for resource adequacy, implementing SB 100 decreases gas capacity by half as compared to a 60 percent RPS future. The SB 100 Report is the first step in evaluating the challenges and opportunities of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2045, the joint agencies will hold annual workshops and will release a report every four years.
On March 17, 2021, the CEC adopted the 2020 Integrated Energy Policy Report (“IEPR”) Update Volume I (Blue Skies, Clean Transportation) and Volume III (California Energy Demand Forecast Update) (Volume II, regarding microgrids, will be considered at a later time). Key recommendations include tailoring state programs to meet the clean air needs of California’s disadvantaged communities, ensuring a full range of zero emission vehicles is available to consumers (i.e., SUVs, minivans, and pickups), finding ways to encourage private sector investments in charging infrastructure, since California may need about 1.5 million chargers to meet the 2035 goal of 100% zero emission vehicle sales, and evaluating the potential for zero emission vehicles to contribute to energy resilience. Key forecast findings include a mid-baseline sales forecast growth of about 0.6%. In addition, compliance with South Coast Air Basin 2031 ozone requirements could amount to an additional 1,700 GW hours of consumption via medium and heavy duty zero emission vehicle charging, while 0.4 million metric tons of CO2 may be saved by moving flexible vehicle charging to midday. Such a scenario may increase system peak load by nearly 700 MW, and increased telework could reduce GHG emissions by just over 4% per day of remote work.